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New Mexico State University

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NMSU's Dona Ana County Extension Office to host rainwater harvesting workshop

New Mexico State University's Dona Ana County Extension Office will host their Rainwater Harvesting and Roof-reliant Landscaping Workshop from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 18-19 at the DACC Workforce Center, 2345 E. Nevada St., in Las Cruces.

"With the ongoing drought conditions we are facing in our region, it is important to utilize all of our resources available to us," said Jeff Anderson, the agronomy and horticulture agent for Dona Ana County. "Rainwater harvesting can supply a source of pure water for use in a vegetable or floral garden and works wonderfully if you like growing plants in a greenhouse. This is because rainwater has no harmful salts to affect plant growth."

Participants will have hands-on experience building a 1,500-gallon complete system from the collecting structures, delivery devices and landscape applications. Anderson said a basic rainwater harvesting system can be installed with little effort and, using the principles of gravity, no electricity is necessary to irrigate plants.

The workshop will feature rainwater harvesting, landscape use and plant selections. Regional and national experts will provide information on collecting and using rainwater in the landscape. Information on selecting trees for the high desert will also be presented.

The workshop will be led by Anderson as well as Billy Kniffen, with the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association and retired from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service; John White, assistant garden curator at the University of Texas at El Paso's Chihuahuan Desert Gardens; Blair Stringam, assistant professor in agricultural engineering at NMSU; and Oscar Mestas, a forester with the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Space is limited to 50 participants and registration ends Feb. 13. The $25 registration fee includes the New Mexico Rainwater Harvesting Manual, as well as the training. Registration forms are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Dona Ana County Extension Office, 530 North Church St., in Las Cruces. For more information call 575-525-6649.